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Old 22-01-2008, 18:31   #1
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Florida is P*ssing Me Off

I just read about another big snafu in Florida. According 2hulls.com:

Sales Tax
A 6 percent sales tax be collected on all boats sold or delivered in Florida - unless a specific exemption exists. Many counties impose a local surtax on the first $5,000 of the sales price.
All taxes are due at the time of sale and are collected by the boat dealer or yacht broker, who then pays them to the Department of Revenue.
All sales of boats between individuals are fully taxable to the purchaser if the sale, delivery or use occurs in Florida.


AND


Sales tax will not be due if the following requirements are met:
•effective October 1, 1995, the purchasers sign an affidavit stating they have read the law and rule regarding the exemption and agree to remove the boat from Florida with 10 days (boats less than 5 net tons) or within 90 days (boats 5 net tons or more); and,
•the purchasers of any vessel of less than 5 net tons, must immediately put the vessel needing repairs or modifications into a registered repair facility* and take the boat out of Florida within 20 days after the work is completed; and,
•the purchasers of any boat, effective October 1, 1995, must furnish proof (copies of out-of-state fuel receipts, dockage charges or repair bills) within 10 days of removing the boat from Florida that the boat left the state; and,
•the purchasers of any boat, effective October 1, 1995, must furnish proof within 30 days of removing the boat from Florida that the boat was licensed, registered, titled or documented outside of this state: and,
•effective October 1, 1995, the dealer must provide within 5 days of the sale of any size boat to a nonresident purchaser, a copy of the invoice, bill of sale or closing statement, and the original removal affidavit.



Now it's late for me right now (early riser), and it's about 90 degrees with an overfired woodstove, so I'm operating a few cyclinders short of an engine, but WTF???

Does this really say I have to move a private sale that I buy out of FL in 10 days??? I'm very convused by this additional Florida debacle.

If I buy a boat in say, Pensacola and need to deliver it to Virginia (where I am a resident, where the boat will be registered and documented, and where its home port will be), how can I get it out of FL in only 10 days??

Am I missing something?
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Old 22-01-2008, 18:58   #2
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Take the boat to Alabama, buy some fuel, return to Florida, sail to wherever. Oh, don't forget to register the boat in VA within 30 days and pay their applicable taxes (sales, personal property, etc)
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Old 22-01-2008, 19:23   #3
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Florida with 10 days (boats less than 5 net tons) or within 90 days (boats 5 net tons or more); and,
Sean,

90 days if over 5 tons! Read closer. They mean that part too. Both neighbors had to beat the date and the FL folks came after them to make the prove it. They had fuel receipts (trawlers) so they escaped.

In VA max tax is 5.5% or $2,000 what ever is less! You have to file the tax ASAP or they hit you 5.5% no max. if they catch you.
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Old 22-01-2008, 20:45   #4
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That's all well and good, but he's not registering the boat in Florida. At registration you show your bill of sale and pay the 6% (yeah, that hurts a bit). You only need register the boat in Florida if it's going to be here at least 6 months of the year.

There is a 30 day grace period. Buy the boat and sail her to a cheaper tax jurisdiction (hopefully that's your home state.)
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Old 22-01-2008, 20:47   #5
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Sean MOST states are like that for all motor vehicles. OTOH, if there's no engine in/on your boat, it probably is tax-exempted, too.<G>

Florida has done an incredible job (fespecially or a state reknowned for being corrupt, rednecked, and otherwise) of getting their regs and departments online. You'll find their DMV and tax dept both answer emails promptly and all their regs are available on the web. They also answer phone calls.

Odds are that if your boat is big enough to document--You might find "five net tons" sounds familiar and you've got a very generous 90 days. If you're planning to stay down there and take six months fixing it up--surprise, MOST states say that's residency and you have to register the motor vehicle. And render unto Little Caeser.

Of course, if you stopped in Philadelphia and hired a shyster lawyer, he'd probably tell you that for a private sale, you could do something creative like withold the final dollar of the sales price until your work was completed, so the 90 days (or 10) didn't start to toll until the sale was completed--when you paid that one last dollar, after you were ready to go. Flying down? Don't worry, they've got shyster lawyers in Florida, too.<G>
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Old 22-01-2008, 21:16   #6
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Yup, the Florida sales tax on boats and the registration numbers and all that are pretty real.

Not a big deal if ya want to go by the rules.
Way back when I tried to uh, cut corners, but found out that the easy road was to pay the sales tax. No problems ever since.

I have worked with other guys buying boats in Florida trying to avoid the tax as they were exporting the boat to Europe, the Bahamas, the Moon or somewhere. All doable, just get the thing out of here within 10 or 30 or 90 days. It all depends if ya have work done on the boat by a yard in Florida or not.


The issue has been around sinde the day I moved here 9 years ago. I bit the bullet right away and just paid the tax even if I lived in Texas at the time. (I asked around and searched for ways out of $2.6K of sales tax...Not likely..They have cameras on the bridges down the river to see who leaves and who don't..Not conspiracies, rather security linked to State Tax collection agencies...Many smart guys have tried to cheat the system...A few makes it, most don't)

If ya get caught trying to cheat, ya pay double the tax plus 10% or some such thing.

I highly recommend playing by the rules.
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Old 23-01-2008, 00:32   #7
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...just out of interest, (because we like to copy American things here in the land of Oz) ...is the tax on the sale price or on the "value" of the boat.-and- if it is on the sale price is there a second clause relating to "undervalued" sales or gifts......
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Old 23-01-2008, 03:25   #8
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The time isn't cast in stone. When we had to do this, we left 2 days late because of a hurricane, we had to pull into port twice because of weather (while still in FL), and our first port after FL was in MD, which was 3 weeks after we started. We sent the receipt from there in along with our registration from RI (which we did when we got back home) and had no issues about the time frame.
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Old 23-01-2008, 03:27   #9
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Oh, and I didn't send the info in for 2 months (5 weeks to get home and some time to get it registered). They just want proof that you're not living in FL and trying to get out of paying their taxes.
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Old 23-01-2008, 04:19   #10
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Quote:
...just out of interest, (because we like to copy American things here in the land of Oz) ...is the tax on the sale price or on the "value" of the boat.-and- if it is on the sale price is there a second clause relating to "undervalued" sales or gifts......
If they think you lied on the sale price they would. They do look at the paperwork. A true gift gets into other issues. You avoid the sales tax but the giver could be on the hook for the balance above the allowable gift amount. That tax is paid as income tax and is owed by the giver not the person receiving it. I think it's $13,500 per person per year (it changes). So your mom and dad could give you and your wife a $54,000 boat (2 persons giving gifts to 2 persons = 4 gifts).

Here in VA you would still be on the hook for the annual personal property tax based on real value. You may be able to fight about the actual value. If it were to go above the gift amount the givers could be looking at tax evasion and that is a federal and a state crime. Any legal fees are easily going to be higher than the tax. If they only think you owe - you pay or you fight but you pay something to someone.

There really are not any legal ways to cheat on your taxes. The only crime Al Capone was ever found guilty of was tax evasion. It's nothing to mess with because you can be found guilty by the tax authority until you prove you are innocent.
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Old 23-01-2008, 07:00   #11
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Jeez... I think the heat of the woodstove and how tired I was last night was getting to me.

I definitely mis-read that tax rule. Apparently, I have 90 days to get out of dodge before any taxes are officially due. (because I'm over 5 net tons)

Thanks, Paul.

My reading comprehension must have been shot last night.

Well, this is good news.

Sorry for the false alarm there. I think I need to slow down... ha ha
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Old 23-01-2008, 09:37   #12
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You tax whatever you want less of. The State of Florida has effectively said it wants fewer boat sales. That will only serve to hurt the people in the yacht sales business and probably won't increase the revenue into the coffers all that much.
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Old 23-01-2008, 09:56   #13
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OTOH, Florida has no property tax on boats.
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Old 23-01-2008, 10:13   #14
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cooper-
Most US states collect the sales tax at the time the boat is registered, and they will at that time look up the "book" value of the vessel, the same way they look up the value of a car. If your boat shows a book value of $125,000 and you hand them a sales receipt (signed by the seller and you) that says "$1500.00" you are likely to be challenged.
If your receipt is within a certain range of the book value, or there are circumstances to explain the difference such as "as is, where is, not in operable condition" they have more liberty about the value.
So the answer is, they can charge you tax based on your sales receipt--or their version of the book value--whichever they please. If you don't like it, you pay it and file an appeal. Remember though, if you claim you paid $50,000 for am $80,000 boat...your insurer may not be willing to insure it for more than what you paid, either. And insurers and tax men have been known to talk to each other about the subject of "fraud".
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Old 23-01-2008, 10:53   #15
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Add the Texas Twist to this....

Texas also collects sales tax, and in our case we bought the boat about 60 days before we got to Texas and tried to register. They wanted to slap us with penalties for not registering the boat within 20 days of purchase - and weren't real keen on my explanation that I had been in transit.

It finally took a marina slip lease agreement dated within the previous 20 days to get us off the hook. And if you take an offshore delivery to avoid the TX sales tax I think their rules are worse than California - TX requires 4 years out of state to avoid tax.

It's all about the money, isn't it?
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